US Department of State Reviews

Updated April 23, 2015
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  1. Excellent employer, consistently one of the best government agencies to work for.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - IT Specialist in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - IT Specialist in Washington, DC

    I worked at US Department of State

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    No matter if your a government employee or government contractor you are treated fairly.

    Cons

    There wasn't much controversy or things I saw that they did wrong in my opionion.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what works and listening to all your employees for the things that will continue to get the job done.

  2. Working in Emergency Management at the Department of State

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Emergency Management Speciailist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Emergency Management Speciailist in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Department of State

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Working in a small office allows you to explore and learn the many different portfolios that can be found under Emergency Management.

    Cons

    The Department of State can be very set in its ways and does not adjust well with the testing, training and exercise requirements for many EM programs.

    Advice to Management

    Learning to understand there are emerging technologies, requirements and preparedness measures that are directed by mandates. By supporting and recognizing the importance of the various EM programs.

  3. Pathways Internship Program at the State Department

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Pathways Intern in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Pathways Intern in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Department of State

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The program has given me a ton of opportunities, including tours of the ops center, attending seminars and networking events, and opportunities for full time careers after I graduate. In the program, I have worked in 2 different offices, both of which have been great. It is also a very well paid internship program which is excellent considering most internships that offer these kinds of opportunities are unpaid.

    Cons

    Starting in the program involves a lot of paperwork and it takes forever to get everything set up.

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  5. A negative atmosphere among Civil Service employees, only do it if you can be Foreign Service

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    I believe the benefits are exceptioinal for Foreign Service Officers - opportunities to learn, travel, and cushy positions in DC when they aren't abroad.

    If you are Civil Service, the atmosphere is different but it looks good on your resume.

    There are a lot of opportunities to learn via training, events, and lectures.

    Cons

    The atmosphere among civil service employees is toxic - it is way too competitive. The people are cutthroat in trying to get to that next GS level. It is all about what you can do for them and your development isn't even an afterthought. The only way to get ahead here is to be competitive, network, and hopefully have a boss that will advocate for you advancing professionally.

    Contractors do all of the technical work - this is pretty universal in the federal government but it is incredibly disappointing. Any one with a technical background should be prepared to see their skills diminish as they spend the majority of time in meetings instead of actually doing the work.

    Advice to Management

    Don't promote people with technical skills that lack management skills. More importantly, don't play favorites and promote people to managerial levels who lack both the technical and management skills to perform and manage employees. Finally, fire people who don't perform! Don't just move around nonperformers because they are still going to cause problems.

  6. Foreign Service Officer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Ability to travel and see the world and get paid for it.

    Cons

    Foreign Service Officer themselves are one of the biggest turn offs. Culture is risk adverse and is often spends hours debating inane things with no strategic plan. Evaluation system is capricious and random. This is really an unhealthy environment to work, which is getting worse since they hired too many people in the last decade.

    Advice to Management

    Manage the organization!

  7. Amazing Experiene

    Former Intern - Intern
    Former Intern - Intern

    I worked at US Department of State as an intern

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great hands on experience. Dedicated and professional staff.

    Cons

    Would have liked greater responsibility.

    Advice to Management

    You need to pay the interns!!!!

  8. Good place to intern depending on your office

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Intern in Washington, DC

    I worked at US Department of State as an intern (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    If you can deal with the bureaucracy of the State Department, you're prepared for working anywhere else in the Federal government. Some of the FSOs/CSOs there are great people to learn from.

    Cons

    Extremely rigid bureaucracy can be frustrating sometimes; depending on your placement it can be a very useful learning experience or a terrible exercise in scut work.

    Advice to Management

    It would be nice if there were differentiated internships based on whether you were coming in as an undergraduate student or a graduate student with experience; I was utilized well by my office given my work experience and education, but other graduate students I knew were not.

  9. Helpful (2)

    It has been a nice ride, now ready to move on

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (More than 8 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Lots of training, free services (all sorts of counselling), interesting work

    Cons

    Antiquated systems, amazing bureaucracy, lots of egos

    Advice to Management

    Good people need to be valued more

  10. Diverse.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at US Department of State

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great benefits. interesting work. Great coworkers.

    Cons

    Micromanaged. Exhausting. high level of communication needed.

    Advice to Management

    None.

  11. Helpful (3)

    Phenomenal, exhausting, worth it

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Extremely challenging, sense of purpose, decent compensation, opportunities for international travel/living. Outstanding, high-achieving colleagues who work as a team. Almost every manager I ever had was great and cared not just about policy, but about the people they managed. If you show you're competent, you'll get more responsibility.

    Cons

    Poor work-life balance, culture of CYA, bureaucratic wrangling can be frustrating, zero consequences for poor management (since most managers move on within 2 years, higher-ups are content to pass the buck and let poor managers slide), some favoritism, conflict among Foreign Service Officers - Civil Servants - and Political Appointees.

    Advice to Management

    Pay close attention to middle management and emphasize accountability. Hold all employees accountable instead of counting down the days until they leave. Pay attention to retention rates and morale in particular offices.

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